What a Drag (But in a Good Way)

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Playwrights Doris Baizley and Ken Narasaki, authors of the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble production of The Mikado Project (which closes this weekend in Burbank), have to be thanked for conceiving a play and creating a situation in which Kennedy Kabasares must wear a dress. Kennedy is one ugly woman, but I don't mean that pejoratively. Wait a second. I don't think there's any other way to mean it. (By the way, Kennedy has a hilarious website.)

The play imagines a young Asian-American theater company putting on a deconstructed version of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, a musical rife with stereotypes and other atrocities. And, through a series of wacky circumstances (and lines such as my favorite: "No more camp plays!"), Kennedy ends up in a pretty white dress and a terrifying make-up job. (By the way, Doris and Ken were guests in episode seven of my Bamboo Nation podcast. Some of you have asked when, oh when, will new episodes be posted, and I assure you that they will very soon and they will be worth the wait. I have several great and funny conversations already recorded, including ones with novelist Scott Heim [Mysterious Skin, In Awe] and musician Myke Weiskopf—both representin' Boston! Wicked!)

Kennedy, if you recall, was one of the many amazing actors (along with, alas, Ken Narasaki) in the world premiere production of The Theory of Everything, which was co-produced by East West Players and Singapore Repertory Theatre and which won a shitload of awards. When we were all in Singapore (damn, that place is clean!), people kept referring to Kennedy as my alter ego or twin or brother for no good reason other than we both are Asian and wear glasses.

I kept travel journals of my time in Singapore, and here are some entries that reference Kennedy:
Speaking of Kennedy, his glasses are sort of in the same style as mine. Also, his hair style has progressively gotten more and more like mine over the weeks. Hmmmm. Very Single White Female. Hopefully, he won't throw my cat out a window....

At a food court this morning, Kennedy and I took a picture together in a photo booth, and people have commented that we look like twins. What's going on here?! I don't think we look alike at all....

The Kennedy-is-my-twin thing gets creepier. At the party, two people from the local Thai association approach Kennedy and say, "Oh, hi, you must be Prince." Later, when I return to our serviced apartment building, the receptionist hands me a phone message—which is addressed to Kennedy. What gives?! We don't look alike, dammit....

An online article about the play comes out and it says that Kennedy "seemed to be the voice of playwright Gomolvilas." What?! I give up.

Isn't this sad? Two playwrights spend months and months writing a play. A theater company busts its ass and breaks its bank to produce it. A troupe of actors sing their hearts out and act up a comic storm. And all I want to talk about is a guy in a dress.

I am the lowest common denominator.

—Reporting From Glendale, California

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